Honoring my late partner, John Williamson

I was pursuing the American Dream at full throttle, working hard and playing hard, but coming no closer to real happiness. I was trapped in the web of conventional wisdom, which is far more conventional than wise. What I was looking for was the form of success I call the “tomorrow,” that elusive happiness that always hovers one more day away from realization. Oh if I could only have that new car, that private plane, that house on the hill. And when I got it, there hovering before my eyes was another tomorrow success, mockingly urging me toward the next big stepping stone to sybaritic bliss.

I didn’t want to admit that I was failing in achieving my innermost dreams.  Where would I start to realize my inner most dreams of being creative, happy, loved and feeling peaceful?  As a so-called expert in achieving my dreams, I was a sought after speaker and role model while most other women chose to stay home.  Yet a voice, vague but insistent, kept telling me that the next big step to happiness resided inside myself. It was something that overtime could not tame, money could not buy, and fame could not secure. Yet how could this be? The indoctrinating drumbeat of conventional wisdom has lyrics: “You were born bald, toothless, helpless, and broke, but you sure as Hell shouldn’t have to die that way!”

The first day John and I met he recognized my great values and at the same time saw through my inner weaknesses.  Instantly he intuitively knew how to lead and guide me to repair these.  I yearned for inner peace that at age twenty six was painfully absent.  The two of us matched up our strengths to become two halves of a perfect relationship. I discovered something amazing…that success was not a possession, it was a characteristic, and it is one we are born with. Success is something we actually have to be programmed not to achieve! Success, you see, is natural, and we are raised from an early age to “rise above” nature.

John, like other great leaders, learned his craft by overcoming adversity. He came from such a poor environment that he didn’t have food to eat at times.  He relied on catching fish or killing meat, daily or selling bootlegged whiskey. The family was so poor that their cabin only had a dirt floor.

Attending school was a ten mile hike through the swamps in Alabama each way.  These hardships became the mother of invention, and how John learned to build everything by hand from scratch.  Practice would later deem him a terrific pioneer and entrepreneur and ultimately be known for his ability to solve problems.  His mind was brilliant and being so isolated it gave him ample time and space to think.  He never carried any homework from school but still received all A’s on his report card.

In the sixties all of our friends and acquaintances were so unhappy and seemed quite dysfunctional. After much research with our highly professional folks we determined it to be caused by sexual repression that had steered people away from Mother Nature’s proscribed pathways.

His background prepared him to create our own alternate lifestyle. Even though it involved a community of people it was still a system that John had a firm grasp of.  He developed his inner ‘Shaman’ which is devoid of a false self. In doing so, he bypassed the ego.

Therefore, we created Sandstone Retreat, removed our own masks and left others with no place to run and hide, leaving them to face their inner truths. John continued to remind me and others that we had all the answers inside ourselves. As soon as we accepted that reality we would be on the highway to repairing ourselves.

John supported the idea that women should be running the world.  In the sixties, women’s ideas and principles were incubating and not yet ready to be woven into the cultural fabric.  The men took our culture to war, while espousing “make more money” and love the American dream with all the toys, automobiles and more things money can buy. That scenario was not going to make women happy.  Now that women have stated their list of principles and values some are; intimacy, caring, love, compassion, freedom, owning sexuality, peace, happiness and full cooperation with each other. Competition tears at our souls and is highly destructive.

God bless John for bringing his higher self and wisdom to share with the world.

Embracing Change

I met John in the mid-1960s, a hotbed of radical change. In those early days we had many discussions about our ability to manage change—to roll with it rather than watch it pass us by or run us down—and looked deep within ourselves for a fountain of renewal.  We wanted something to stave off stagnation and despair. We knew it would involve keeping an open heart and mind, remaining flexible, learning to love ourselves and others, and staying connected with Nature. We needed to be closely-knit halves of a perfect relationship that embraced cooperation and eschewed competition.

Perhaps we would end our pursuit of the American Dream that provided us great incomes while leaving us emotionally drained and feeling neglected.  Yes, I know that is counter-intuitive. If you are like most people, you want enough money that you don’t have to worry about where it’s coming from. But owning money is like owning a house—it must be maintained, and there are several ongoing expenses.

We turned our focus toward social engineering and created Sandstone Retreat to provide a pathway into the “changing lifestyles of the 70’s.” Sandstone Retreat opened a crack in the centuries-old wall of sexual suppression. We changed out of our designer clothes into total nudity, the one suit everyone can afford but finds most expensive suit of all to wear. Part with a few hundred dollars and you can deck yourself in Georgio Armani, but rock your birthday suit and you have to part with a whole mindset! Unlike Georgio Armani suits, when you discard one mindset, there is another one waiting around the corner to replace it, and you’d be surprised how good it can be! In the Sexual Revolution Era we had an expression, “If it feels good do it,” and we did it, and it felt good.

We found it necessary to resist the dominant cultural path that said dedicate your lives to earn lots of money and that will heal all of your woes.  Now, over forty years later we see the danger of such bridled vision leading down the pathway to moral bankruptcy.

Our perception was the earth was quickly becoming over crowded with humans now having the capability of purchasing unlimited number of toys, automobiles, appliances, hi-tech gadgets and severely creating misery and alienation within. At the same time folks were neglecting their critical emotional needs such as human touch, compassion, intimacy, caring, love, openness and truth that really makes our lives hum with a rich sense of well being.

Resisting change whether it is out of Fear or facing the Unknown keeps us locked in to a stagnant quagmire. Embracing change (easy once open to it) is Mother Nature’s way!